Bachelor of Fine Arts
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is a prestigious degree that will give you a broad knowledge in visual arts, multimedia, and design before you specialise in one studio area.
The four-year degree is based within purpose-built facilities and students enjoy being part of a supportive community of practitioners.
- First art school in Aotearoa New Zealand and one of the oldest in the English-speaking world.
- Teaching staff are artists, designers, filmmakers, and curators of international standing.
- Facilities include an on-campus art gallery, dedicated studios, and workshops.
- Numerous exhibitions are organised by Te Kura Kōwaiwai | Ilam School of Fine Arts throughout the year, allowing students to showcase their work to multiple audiences.
- Enjoy a welcoming community of like-minded students, enthusiasts, professionals, staff, and alumni.
To apply for admission to the Intermediate Year (first year) of the BFA directly from secondary school, you need to have met University Entrance requirements and:
- achieved NCEA Level 3 Visual Arts in one or more subjects; and
- at least 14 credits in each of two other NCEA Level 3 subjects (that are not practical art subjects) is also strongly recommended; or
- the equivalent standards in other secondary school qualifications.
All applicants also need to submit an application form, a letter of introduction, and a portfolio of work.
How to apply
Entry to the first year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts is limited. We recommend that you complete and supply by 15 November:
- the Application for Fine Arts Intermediate course form
- a letter of introduction
- a portfolio of work.
You are encouraged to apply as early as possible, and to visit Te Kura Kōwaiwai | Ilam School of Fine Arts before making your application. The School welcomes applications from October.
Portfolio of work
Your application should include a portfolio of recently completed art and/or design work.
The portfolio must include 12 examples of work from NCEA (or equivalent) practical arts subjects. The format must be colour, laser printed, and stapled A4 photographs.
This is your opportunity to demonstrate:
- your competency and ability in artmaking – so please make sure you include your best work. We also need to see aspects of your methodology; examples of preliminary sketches are important here.
- your best possible presentation of work. There are a number of formatting requirements for the supply of your work portfolio – please see the application form for details.
- your ability to express your thinking in a written statement. This is your chance to demonstrate a critical understanding of how the work operates, the decisions you made, and what you are trying to address through your work.
For more information on the application process for the Intermediate Year, go to Te Kura Kōwaiwai | Ilam School of Fine Arts website.
Bachelor of Fine Arts – example degree structure
Introduction to all specialist studio studies
Required Art History and Theory courses
Specialisation in one studio subject
Courses from Bachelor of Arts subjects
(2) Students specialising in Film or Photography may take either Art History and Theory or Cinema Studies 200-level courses. All other students take Art History and Theory 200-level courses.
(3) Students must complete a 200-level course to be eligible for entry into Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours at fourth year.
(4) Students must complete 30 points of 300-level ARTH courses (or CINE courses for Film and Photography students) to be eligible for entry into Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours at fourth year.
* Students eligible for Honours will instead take FINA 450 in their fourth year.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points or more.
This diagram is an example only – other combinations are possible. For specific course requirements, see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Fine Arts.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts requires a total of 480 points:
- 90 points of compulsory Fine Arts courses
- 45 points of compulsory Art History and Theory and/or Cinema Studies courses
- 270 points towards a specialist studio subject
- 75 points from courses in Arts or other degrees.
The first year of the degree is called the Fine Arts Intermediate Year and includes three compulsory courses (90 points), as well as 30 points of 100-level Art History and Theory courses.
On passing the Intermediate Year, you will gain a place in one of you two preferred studio subjects. Your grades in the Intermediate Year will influence your choice of subject.
In the second, third, and fourth years of the BFA, you will specialise in the one studio subject, and complete courses in Art History and Theory or Cinema Studies, and other subject areas.
The degree takes 4 years of full-time study, or can be studied part-time for up to 6 years.
Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours
You may be accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours programme, based on your results in the previous years of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
You must have completed your third year of the BFA, and completed 30 points of 300-level ARTH or CINE courses with a B grade or better, and achieved a B grade or better in their 300-level studio subject course.
If you are eligible, during your fourth year of study you will instead take FINA 450 Honours Research.
See the Regulations for the Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours for more information.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts is a highly flexible degree, allowing studio practice in one area of Fine Arts, introductory courses in Art History and Theory, and courses from subjects within other degrees.
See ‘How do I plan my degree?’ above for an example degree structure diagram.
In the first year of the degree, called the Fine Arts Intermediate Year, all BFA students complete the following compulsory courses:
- FINA 101 What is Practice?
- FINA 102 Communities of Practice
- FINA 103 Studio Practice
- Two 100-level ARTH courses
Fine Arts majors
UC offers five studio specialisations in the Bachelor of Fine Arts. On passing the Intermediate Year, students gain a place in one of the following majors:
Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours
Students that achieve good results during the three years of the degree may be approved for entry to the Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours programme at their fourth year.
Students accepted into the BFA(Hons) will take FINA 450 Honours Research instead of the usual fourth-year courses in the BFA.
Postgraduate and graduate options at UC include:
A UC Fine Arts degree is accepted as an entry qualification to postgraduate studies in other tertiary institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. UC graduates have been accepted into the best graduate programmes in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, the United States, and Australia.
Recent UC graduates have gained employment as professional artists, art gallery directors, photojournalists, commercial photographers, film directors, designers, consultants, art conservators, illustrators, fashion designers, curators, art critics, art historians, graphic designers, lecturers, and art teachers.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree from UC.
See Tuition Fee Structure for more information
|2021||120||Banded Fee - total tuition fee dependent on course selection||$7,015|
|2022||120||Banded Fee - total tuition fee dependent on course selection||$7,134|
|Year||Points||Info||Fees (NZD)||Fees (NZD) Excl GST|
|2021||120||This is an indicative fee - total tuition fee will be dependent on your course selection (banded)||$32,200||$28,000|
|2022||120||This is an indicative fee - total tuition fee will be dependent on your course selection||$33,075||$28,761|
For the full degree requirements, see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Fine Arts.
For study planning help, contact Te Rōpū Takawaenga o UC | UC Liaison Office (new students) or a Te Rāngai Toi Tangata | College of Arts Student Advisor (advancing students).
For more information on facilities, resources, and staff, see Te Rāngai Toi Tangata | College of Arts.